The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) is developing six parks for women only so they can exercise out of sight of male oglers.
The parks will have walls and grills up to seven feet high and employ women for security and maintenance, PHA Director General Muhammad Mehmood told The Express Tribune. “They are being especially designed for women who are uncomfortable using public parks,” he said.
The parks in Johar Town, Mustafa Town, Tajpura, Sabzazar, Gulberg and Gujjarpura will be completed in three months at a cost of around Rs70 million, he said. They will also have allied sports and exercise facilities such as a basketball or badminton court, a jogging track and a gym.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the women’s-only Fatima Jinnah Park in Green Town on March 25 and it has proved very popular. The park has walls seven feet high and though there is a male guard at the gate, the six guards inside are women.
“It’s a great gift for women sick of eve teasers,” said Mrs Aleem, a Township resident who was visiting Fatima Jinnah Park. “I had stopped going to parks because, whoever I was with and however carefully I was dressed, I was harassed.”
She said that she felt comfortable exercising at the women’s-only park. “My five-year-old also plays here with the other kids, so it is a good outing for both of us,” she said.
Mehmood, the PHA director general, said that the new parks had been designed by architect Rizwan Beg and would have modern architecture, landscaped lawns, canteens, sitting areas, walkways and jogging tracks. Each would include a basketball court or a badminton court and a gym equipped with exercise machines. The park in Gulberg would also have a play-area for children.
Five solar-powered lights would be installed at each park for times without power, he said. All the park employees would be women, except perhaps the gatekeeper. Entrance to the parks and use of the facilities would be free, said Mehmood.
Block B1, Johar Town
Size: 20 kanals
Status: Work started, to be finished in two months
Cost: Rs8 million
Visibility protection: Three-foot high wall plus three-foot ivy-covered fence
Ahmad Yar Block, Mustafa Town
Work started, to be finished in two months
Four-foot wall plus two-foot, ivy-covered fence
F Block, Sabzazar
Works started, to be finished in two months
Al Raheem Park, Tajpura
To be finished in two months
Three-feet wall plus four-feet fence
Block B2, near Ghalib Market, Gulberg III
Ground broken, work to start soon and finish in three months
Three-foot wall plus four-foot fence
China Scheme, Gujjarpura
Three-foot wall and four-foot fence
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.
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